Campaign Carl Needs a New Campaign

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Campaign Carl, my favorite political reporter on television, needs to be reassigned. Carl Cameron, Fox News’s chief political correspondent and shadow to John Kerry did something stupid. With Fox already accused of a right wing bias, his stupid story does not help. I think it was a mistake and he apologized, but Fox should still have someone else cover Kerry from here on out.

&#8220 Kerry’s spokesman, David Wade, said, &#8216America would be stronger if only George Bush could admit his mistakes as easily.&#8217&#8221

If you haven’t heard about it (I had not until Rusty pointed it out in a comment below), the story is here(registration required). In short

Carl Cameron, a Fox reporter who covers the Kerry campaign, wrote an item that looked like a news story with made-up Kerry quotes, said Paul Schur, a Fox spokesman. The item was not intended to be posted on the site.

“Carl made a stupid mistake which he regrets,” Schur said Friday night. “And he has been reprimanded for his lapse in judgment. It was a poor attempt at humor.”

The phony item posted early Friday read in part:

“Rallying supporters in Tampa Friday Kerry played up his performance in Thursday night’s debate in which many observers agreed the Massachusetts senator outperformed the president.

“‘Didn’t my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!’ Kerry said Friday.

“With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction going.

“Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with a focus on women and abortion rights.

“‘It’s about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures,’ Kerry said.”

The item also quoted Kerry as saying of himself and President Bush: “I’m metrosexual – he’s a cowboy.”

To make matters worse, Fox also ran a story, found here, in which reporter Jane Roh took seriously some Bush supporters who claimed to be “Communists for Kerry.” The story has subsequently been changed and Fox put out the follow statement, which is attached to the story:

In a version of this article that was published earlier, the Communists for Kerry group was portrayed as an organization that was supporting John Kerry for president. FOXNews.com’s reporter asked the group’s representative several times whether the group was legitimate and supporting the Democratic candidate, and the spokesman insisted that it was. The Communists for Kerry group is, in fact, a parody organization.

Now, this just goes to show that reporters are not the sharpest people. I’m pretty sure that if somebody was vocally calling himself a Communist for Kerry and using words like “Comrade” while speaking in a New York accent, I’d be a bit suspicious. In fairness, however, several very smart people emailed me links to Communists for Kerry when it first got going. They all thought it was legit. You actually have to do some digging to find out it is a local Republican club in New York that put it together.

The most interesting part of this, however, is how Fox responded. Unlike CBS, which stood by its story for days and days, Fox took down Carl’s story, revised Roh’s story, issued a statement on both, and reprimanded Carl Cameron. To my knowledge, Dan Rather has yet to be reprimanded for using fake documents that were clearly fake.

Nonetheless, Fox has to work harder than the liberal networks because of its supposed right wing bias. As a result, however much I love Carl Cameron’s reporting, Carl needs a new assignment. The classiest thing to come from this, and it wasn’t all that classy, was the statement from Kerry’s campaign, which, by the way, has repeatedly said they like Carl’s coverage. Kerry’s spokesman, David Wade, said, “America would be stronger if only George Bush could admit his mistakes as easily.”

Liberals like Josh Marshall and Atrios are up in arms over the Fox stories. Of course, they fully supported Dan Rather. I don’t support either. I think both are examples of shoddy journalism. But, I applaud Fox’s promptness in its respond and in its discipline of a very good journalist who did something stupid.

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Erick Erickson

2 comments

  • It’s about time Cameron got reassigned to covering pie backing contests or something where his bias won’t have an impact on the rest of us.

    In 2000, his wife was employed by the Bush campaign while he provided Fox’s coverage. I guess conflict of interest standards don’t apply to him.

  • Ms. Roh or her editor could have visited the group’s website, hit “About Us,” and received a very clear description of what the group is, so Fox’s explanation rings hallow.

    I’d like to know if Carl Cameron can directly post his stories to the Fox site, or if they must be filtered through an editor or web monkey first.
    More than one person might be complicit.

    And I’m curious about what Carl/Fox were trying to accomplish. Word association perhaps? Publish a couple of fake stories, get the quote-unquote liberal press to jump on it, and don’t worry about your channel’s name being dragged through the mud since the words “communist” and “manicure” and “John Kerry” will appear in stories together over and over again?

    All that said, kudos to you for doing a post on it.

By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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